26 people arrested in Oakland gang raid


Announcing the arrests at a news conference in a parking lot underneath a noisy freeway near Telegraph Avenue and 36th Street, Assistant Police Chief Howard Jordan said police believe that members of the Ghost Town gang are responsible for a variety of crimes, including murders, assaults, carjackings and drug dealing.

Jordan said the gang's members "have held the community captive through fear and intimidation" and vowed that "we will continue to be aggressive" in trying to put the gang out of business.

Deputy Chief Jeffrey Israel said the raids, which were dubbed "Operation Ghostbusters," were the result of a five-month investigation.

Israel said that although 26 people were arrested as a result of search and arrest warrants as well as parole and probation searches, "This is not the end of the investigation by any means."

Israel said the suspected gang members arrested today are being held on drug-related charges but could soon face charges for violent crimes as well.

Undisclosed amounts of marijuana, crack cocaine and firearms were seized in the raids, according to Israel.

He said the Ghost Town gang's turf generally has been along Martin Luther King Jr. Way between 25th and 35th streets but it's also been involved in criminal activity throughout Oakland.

Israel said the raids today were similar to raids against the Acorn drug gang on June 17, 2008, which were part of "Operation Nutcracker."

He said the prosecutions of the Acorn suspects were successful and "we expect similar results from today's raids."

Israel said Oakland police will continue to crack down on the Ghost Town gang, saying, "We're not going to let them take back the area after today."

Israel said people from a variety of age groups belong to the Ghost Town gang and affiliated subsets. He said many women, such as girlfriends and sisters of male gang members, now belong to the Ghost Town gang and other gangs, as they're often used to hide narcotics and firearms.

Israel said the subsets of the Ghost Town gang have colorful names, such as ASAP, the PT Gang, the Mini Mob and the Circle Boyz.

Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley said the raids were an important step in getting gangs and drugs off the street.

California Highway Patrol officers, the FBI, Alameda County probation officers and state parole agents helped Oakland police carry out the raids.

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